Archive for Climate Change
www.nytimes.com 21st January 2013
In perhaps a surprising move, President Barack Obama put climate change at the forefront of his inaugural speech. Eight whole sentences were devoted to the subject, more than any other. The focus on climate change comes after a comprehensive failure to introduce any legislation on the issue in his first term. This time around, the president plans to use his executive power to avoid opposition by Republicans in the House of Representatives. Climate change was also brought up in election-night speech where he related it directly to the rise of extreme weather. A number of steps will be taken to help the US tackle the issue of greenhouse gases. The main step will be the power given to the Environmental Protection Agency to clamp down on emissions from coal power-stations. Another is to increase energy-efficient standards in buildings and home-appliances. A third is to increase the development of public transport. Despite a failure to secure any legislation in his last term, emissions in the US still dipped 10% between 2008 and 2012, a result of the economic slow-down and moves towards energy efficiency by government and industry.
The creative team at the Climate Reality Project has been ‘hard at work making short videos that punctuate the urgency around the crisis in an unusual way — and take a good poke at those who think we can deny our way out of climate change.’ Have a look at this brilliant video of theirs.
By Ben Caldecott, www.guardian.co.uk 12th July 2011
“The global financial system faces a deep, opaque and systemic risk that threatens to destroy our economic well-being, including our pensions. But forget collateralised debt obligations and subprime mortgages, the implications of an economy-wide over-exposure to fossil fuel investments could be even more severe and wide ranging than those of the recent financial crisis.
More money is flowing into clean technologies than ever before – a record £150bn of investment last year – but money is also still pouring into coal, oil, gas, mining and other high-carbon sectors at a pace that severely undermines our efforts to tackle climate change and other environmental challenges. Take last month’s listing of mining and commodities giant Glencore, for example, which valued the company at £37bn, the largest ever capital raising by an international company in London. Or Shell’s £62bn investment drive over the next four years, which is focused on increasing oil and gas production to 3.7m barrels of oil equivalent per day by 2014, an increase of 12% from 2010.
Judging from these and many other recent high-carbon endorsements, “let the good times roll” appears to be the tune to which the high-carbon incumbents across the world are dancing. The implications of locking in high-carbon investments are huge and long term.”
Read the full article on the Guardian’s website.
www.seaweb.org 6th July 2011
In the absence of a global move to reduce carbon emissions, many have asked the question whether anything can really be done to reduce the effects of ocean acidification on the marine environment. A new paper, released in the journal Science, has tried to tackle this question by putting forward a number of ideas that could be implemented by local and national governments to better protect their coastlines. Although the growing amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is increasing the level of the gas absorbed by the oceans (thereby creating carbonic acid), several other factors also play a role in this process. Freshwater input from rivers, pollution, and soil erosion all affect the acidic level of seawater. Although the report, headed by Ryan Kelly of the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University, is aimed towards the United States, it’s lessons are relevant on a global scale. The first issue they tackle is to reduce acidification-related runoff. This can be done by using state funding and the Clean Water Act to prevent stormwater surges, upgrade water treatment facilities, and restore wetland areas. Secondly, in order to reduce coastal erosion (which carries with nutrient runoff and acidification-inducing fertilisers) local governing bodies should encourage vegetation growth that stabilises coastal sediment. Thirdly, “enforcement of federal emissions requirements for such industrial pollutants as nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide should provide local benefits given these pollutants’ short atmospheric resident times.” The paper insists that these more local moves challenge the commonly held belief that the problem of ocean acidification can only be dealt with on a national scale.
www.bbc.co.uk 6th May 2011
A team of scientists from the US have determined that climate change over the past three decades has led to a 5.5% decline in global wheat yields. The research was carried out by Stanford University and assessed the impact of climate on the four major food crops of the world: wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans. Crop losses were so severe in some regions that they wiped out gains made through such factors as technology. ”There are already clear changes going on in most agricultural regions in terms of weather, and they have effects on food production that are sizeable,” said David Lobell, the head researcher on the report. Strangely enough, North America was the only region studied that did not show any trend of warming over the 30 year period whereas Europe, China, and Brazil all did. When it came to rainfall, just as many regions were experiencing more rainfall as those experiencing less. Professor Lobell insisted that the findings only referred to past relationships and in order for predictions in future crop yield to be worked out, some large assumptions would have to be made. For one, whether the crops of tomorrow will be the same as the ones we use today (genetically for one).
www.bbc.co.uk 26th April 2011
A US government report has highlighted the growing concern of water supplies in the western United States. Climate change, according to the report, could cut water flow into the area’s largest river basins by as much as 20% this century. This coincides with the fastest demographic growth rate in the country, indicating water shortages will become a likelihood for millions of people from Texas and Arizona, to California and Nevada. The American southwest is already experiencing water problems with inadequate supplies for drinking water, irrigation, and electricity production. Texas, Arizona, and Nevada are the driest states in the country, as well as having the fastest population growth, yet they are also the ones experiencing greatest water shortages. The report, put together by the Bureau of Reclamation, also outlined some other projections about future weather patterns related to water supply. These include: ‘a temperature increase of 5-7 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8-3.9 degrees Celsius); a precipitation increase over the north-western and north-central portions of the western US and a decrease over the south-western and south-central area; a decrease for almost all of the 1 April snowpack, a standard benchmark measurement used to project river basin run-off.’ The aim of the report is to create effective measures of response to these predictions.
www.bbc.co.uk 6th April 2011
One of the less contentious forms of geo-engineering, or the deliberate changing of the earth’s climate to reduce climate change, would see clouds sprayed with seawater to make them whiter thereby reflecting more of the sun’s energy. However, new research by the European Geosciences Union has found that depending on the size of the water droplets, the action could have a warming effect, rather than a cooling one. The theory was thought up in the 1990s by John Latham, now of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, USA. It has since been championed by numerous academics as one of the less environmentally detrimental forms of geo-engineering to combat global warming (see here for other proposed methods). One version of the idea would see wind-powered ships sail the oceans were reflective stratocumulus clouds are scarce. They would then spray a constant spray of seawater into the atmosphere where tiny salt crystals would act as nuclei around which water would vaporise and create clouds. However, Kari Alterskjaer of the European Geosciences Union has claimed that the wrong-sized water droplets would actually decrease cloud cover. There is a fine balance between too large, which would just fall back down from the sky, and too small, which would influence particles already in the sky. Geo-engineering is one of the more dramatic ways researchers are studying to limit the effects of global warming.
e360.yale.edu 1st April 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Five major U.S. companies, including shipping giants FedEx and United Parcel Service, have committed to partner with the Obama administration in support of a national effort to reduce fossil fuel consumption. As charter members of the so-called National Clean Fleets Partnership, the companies — along with AT&T, PepsiCo, and Verizon — have pledged to reduce their combined petroleum consumption by more than 7 million gallons annually through an increased commitment to renewable energy and electric vehicles. The announcement comes days after President Obama called for a one-third reduction in U.S. oil imports by 2025. The five participating companies operate some of the largest vehicle fleets in the nation, with a total of more than 275,000 trucks and vans. As part of the commitment, the companies have pledged to deploy 20,000 vehicles that use fossil fuel alternatives, including electric power and biofuels.’
www.guardian.co.uk 14th February 2011
In his 2012 Budget Report, US President Barak Obama has proposed opening up funding for clean energy by reducing subsidies for fossil fuels. The report would see the Department of Energy receiving a budget of $29.5 billion for the fiscal year, which is a mark up of 4.2% from the proposed 2011 budget. Of this, around $8 billion would go towards renewable energy such as wind and solar. To help make up this amount, Obama has asked Congress to take away $3.6 billion in oil and gas subsidies in addition to cut government funding for oil and gas research and hydrogen fuel programmes. Predictably, most of the Republican party, who now have the majority in the House of Representatives, oppose the budget claiming that the cuts would cost jobs in a time of economic uncertainty. The party has also vocalised its intention to reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency’s programme to regulate greenhouse has emissions claiming that ‘Congress should be the one to decide whether to fight Climate Change, not the administration.’ Obama’s budget already slashes $1.3 billion of the EPA by reducing funds aimed at the Great Lakes Restoration and a clean diesel programme. According to analysts, the most likely condition in the budget to make it into law is extra funding for electric cars, as this could be paired with an opposing bill to increase money for natural gas fuelled cars.
www.nytimes.com 6th January 2011
The new Republican governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, has scrapped two environmental laws claiming they were ‘burdensome for industry and harmful to the state’s economy’. One of these laws required 3% annual cuts to state greenhouse gas emissions and the other aimed to regulate the discharge of waste from dairies in the southern part of the state. Governor Martinez, who received thousands of dollars from oil and gas interests, does not believe that ‘science has clearly established a link between climate change and human activity’. She also dismissed most of the members of the state’s Environmental Improvement Board claiming: “Unfortunately, the majority of E.I.B. members have made it clear that they are more interested in advancing political ideology than implementing common-sense policies that balance economic growth with responsible stewardship.” Some have claimed that her actions, both in scrapping the laws and firing the EIB members, is illegal. Governor Martinez’s actions goes against the current trend in southwestern US states as governors in California and Arizona are firmly backing cleaner sources of energy.
e360.yale.edu 8th December 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Increases in plant growth expected as a result of a projected doubling of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could create a cooling effect that would help reduce future global warming, according to new NASA computer models. Specifically, researchers say that increased leaf growth that occurs when more carbon dioxide is in the atmosphere will likely increase evapotranspiration, which will have a cooling effect. According to the new model, this cooling effect would offset warming temperatures by 0.3 degrees C (0.5 degrees F) globally and 0.6 degrees C (1.1 degrees F) over land, compared to models in which the effects were not included, said Lahouari Bounoua, a researcher at the Goddard Space Flight Center and lead author of the study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The cooling effect would not be strong enough to offset rising temperatures, Bounoua said, but would temper those increases.’
www.independent.co.uk 27th November 2010
The latest rounds in UN sponsored talks on climate change are set to take start in two days time (29th November) in the holiday resort of Cancun in Mexico. Spectators hope that a viable alternative to the Kyoto Pact will be put into place following last year’s failure at Copenhagen. The summit will be hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 194 parties are due to attend. The two main objectives are as follows:
1) ACTION BEYOND 2012
- launching a new financial vehicle, unofficially dubbed the Green Fund, to help poor countries cope with the impact of climate change. It could be the main source for aid, promised in Copenhagen, that could reach 100 billion dollars a year by 2020.
- setting financial encouragement to tropical countries so that they preserve their forests rather than cut them down. Logging and land clearance have accounted for between 12 and 25 percent of global emissions annually over the past 15 years.
- encouraging the transfer of clean technology from rich countries to poor economies.
- agreeing ways to measure and monitor countries’ actions, including emissions curbs.
2) FUTURE OF THE KYOTO PROTOCOL
The renewal of greenhouse gas reduction targets. This is difficult due to the lack of support from the USA and the absence of developing economies like Brazil, China, and India. Even the European Union, which saved Kyoto following the USA’s refusal to ratify the treaty in 2001, is doubtful that such as renewal is possible.
www.guardian.co.uk 18th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘It’s very nearly a wrap for Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose career as governor of California will come sputtering to an end in January with his approval rating in the 20s, the state budget shortfall at $25bn (£16bn), and unemployment at nearly 13%. But, like the action heroes he has so often played, the man they called the governator is already working on a comeback. In what is likely his last performance on a world stage as governor, Schwarzenegger this week launched the R20 climate network, an alliance of regional leaders who have pledged to work together to fight climate change. Schwarzenegger is the “founding father” of the new venture, a self-appointed global champion in the war against climate change.’
To read more about Arnold’s decision in the Guardian, click here.
e360.yale.edu 16th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The steady loss of sea ice in the eastern Arctic could produce significant changes in the region’s atmospheric circulation, possibly resulting in a period of colder winters in the planet’s northern latitudes, even as the global climate warms, according to a new study. Using computer simulations to model decreases in sea cover in the eastern Arctic, scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research found what they called a “pronounced nonlinear response” of air temperatures and winds in the eastern Arctic. Specifically, the decrease in winter sea ice in the Barents-Kara Sea area, located north of Norway and Russia, may well direct colder winds over much of Europe. “These anomalies could triple the probability of cold winter extremes in Europe and northern Asia,” said Vladimir Petoukhov, a climate scientist and lead author of the study, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. “Recent severe winters like last year’s or the one of 2005-06 do not conflict with the global warming picture, but rather supplement it.”’
e360.yale.edu 9th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The habitat diversity of the planet’s mountain ranges may offer a safe haven for species threatened by the effects of climate change, according to a new study. Using infrared photography and sensors to monitor soil temperatures in Switzerland’s central Alps, researchers from the University of Basel found that slope exposure and the ruggedness of the alpine terrain “produce a broad spectrum of life conditions” not present in most ecosystems, creating “refuge habitats” for many species. Based on computer modeling, the researchers estimated that if temperatures increase 2 degrees C, only 3 percent of alpine habitat will become unsuitable for species in the region. The scientists said they were surprised by the high degree of temperature contrasts found in the Alps, and that the many micro-climates will enable species to migrate short distances and still find suitable habitat under a scenario of modest temperature increases. The study was published in the Journal of Biogeography.’
www.latimes.com 30th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘If the GOP (the Good Old Party, i.e.: the Republicans) wins control of the House next week, senior congressional Republicans plan to launch a blistering attack on the Obama administration’s environmental policies, as well as on scientists who link air pollution to climate change. The GOP’s fire will be concentrated especially on the administration’s efforts to use the Environmental Protection Agency‘s authority over air pollution to tighten emissions controls on coal, oil and other carbon fuels that scientists say contribute to global warming. The attack, according to senior Republicans, will seek to portray the EPA as abusing its authority and damaging the economy with needless government regulations. In addition, GOP leaders say, they will focus on what they see as distortions of scientific evidence regarding climate change and on Obama administration efforts to achieve by executive rule-making what it failed to win from Congress. Even if Republicans should win majorities in both the House and Senate, they would face difficulties putting their views into legislative form, since Senate Democrats could use the threat of filibuster to block bills just as the GOP did on climate and other issues during the past year. Also, Obama could use his veto power. But the GOP’s plans for wide-ranging and sustained investigations by congressional committees could put the EPA and administration environmental policymakers on the defensive and create political pressures that could cause Obama to pull back on environmental issues as the 2012 presidential election draws closer.’
To read more, click here.
Quoted from source:
‘For thousands of years, nomadic herdsmen have roamed the harsh, semi-arid lowlands that stretch across 80 percent of Kenya and 60 percent of Ethiopia. Descendants of the oldest tribal societies in the world, they survive thanks to the animals they raise and the crops they grow, their travels determined by the search for water and grazing lands. These herdsmen have long been accustomed to adapting to a changing environment. But in recent years, they have faced challenges unlike any in living memory: As temperatures in the region have risen and water supplies have dwindled, the pastoralists have had to range more widely in search of suitable water and land. That search has brought tribal groups in Ethiopia and Kenya in increasing conflict, as pastoral communities kill each other over water and grass.
“When the Water Ends,” a 16-minute video produced by Yale Environment 360 in collaboration with MediaStorm, tells the story of this conflict and of the increasingly dire drought conditions facing parts of East Africa. To report this video, Evan Abramson, a 32-year-old photographer and videographer, spent two months in the region early this year, living among the herding communities. He returned with a tale that many climate scientists say will be increasingly common in the 21st century and beyond — how worsening drought in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere will pit group against group, nation against nation. As one UN official told Abramson, the clashes between Kenyan and Ethiopian pastoralists represent “some of the world’s first climate-change conflicts.”’
To watch the documentary click here.
www.independent.co.uk 30th October 2010
A new report by the Noumea-based Secretariat of the Pacific Community has stated that due to poor management, climate change, over-exploitation, and population growth, the Pacific Island fisheries face collapse in 25 years. The situation is only set to get worse as wealthy nations outside of the 22 smaller island states demand access to rich fishing grounds amid a global decline in fish stocks. Furthermore, island populations are set to grow by 50% by 2035 to 15 million, an increase that is likely to fuel demand for unsustainable fishing practices. A collapse of the fishing economy, accompanied by a decline in the tourist trade due to ocean acidification, coral bleaching, and increased tropical storm frequency, all brought about due to climate change, would bring economic ruin to the region. The report has suggested a number of measures to safeguard Pacific Island resources including increased communication between the island states, stepping up policing of illegal fishing, and gradually reducing the number of foreign fishing vessels in the region.
www.nationalgeographic.com 8th October 2010
New research has revealed another indicator for climate change. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a new report compiled by NASA and several university institutions has stated that 18% more freshwater entered the oceans in 2006 than in 1994. This increase is equivalent to an increase of one Mississippi river every year. It is believed that global warming is a major cause in this rise. A hotter climate means that more water evaporates from the oceans and form clouds over land. It also increases the amount of snow and ice-melt. However, although this may sound like good news in a time where water shortages are a global concern, much of this extra water is flowing where it isn’t needed like in tropical and polar regions. Also, the sheer volume of water means that where it does flow near human habitation, it frequently causes widespread flooding. The recent deluges in Pakistan are an example. The results from the report are the first of their kind and are based on a 13 year study of satellite records of sea-levels, evaporation, and precipitation. The research was led by Jay Famiglietti of the University of California at Irvine.
e360.yale.edu October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The majority of Americans have limited understanding of the planet’s climate system and the causes and threats of climate change, according to a new study by Yale University. Only 1 in 10 of those surveyed by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication said they are “very well informed” about climate change issues. And while 63 percent believe that global warming is occurring, many do not understand why. According to the survey, 57 percent of respondents know that the greenhouse effect refers to heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere; 45 percent understand that carbon dioxide traps heat from the planet’s surface; and only 25 percent are aware of coral bleaching or ocean acidification. And the majority of respondents had significant misconceptions about climate science, including the incorrect belief that the hole in the ozone layer, toxic waste, aerosol spray, and acid rain cause global warming. Based on these results, the authors say only 8 percent of respondents would have knowledge equivalent to a grade of an A or B, and more than 52 percent would receive an F grade.’
www.bbc.co.uk 13th October 2010
A new project is seeking to use logbooks from World War One era navy vessels to chart how climate has changed in the last century. Current weather data is mainly based on information from land-based monitoring stations which have been systematically recording for the past 150 years. However, the record is far from complete, particularly prior to 1920 and at sea, says Dr Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the UK Met Office. This new project, called OldWeather.org, aims to use weather data from ships logbooks to try and fill in some of these gaps, effectively turning the 280 odd WW1 vessels into mobile weather stations. Volunteers are encouraged to transcribe information from old logbooks posted online, including HMS Caroline which survived the Battle of Jutland and can still be seen moored at Belfast. The more transcription a volunteer does, the higher he/she rises up the rank system of that ship. According to Dr. Scott: “Historical weather data is vital because it allows us to test our models of the Earth’s climate: if we can correctly account for what the weather was doing in the past, then we can have more confidence in our predictions of the future.”
www.guardian.co.uk 13th September 2010
A coalition of scientists, scientific societies, venture capitalists and conservative think tanks are discussing the possibility of deliberately engineering the Earth’s climate to prevent anthropogenic global warming. There are two ways in which this could be done. The first is the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. The second is the reduction of solar heat reaching the Earth either by preventing it coming in or by reflecting more of it out. All potential methods of so-called ‘geo-engineering’ are far-fetched but that has not stopped them from being considered. All are highly intrusive to our environment. To remove CO2 from the atmosphere such proposals as lacing the sea with iron filings (which promote the growth of algae that absorb CO2) and erecting sodium trees (that turn CO2 into sodium bicarbonate) have been put forward. To reduce solar heat it has been suggested to send billions of reflective disks into space to reflect the sun’s rays or create unmanned ships that plough the seas and spray seawater into the air to produce more clouds. Perhaps the most seriously considered proposal is to spray the atmosphere with sulphur dioxide to control the Earth’s temperature. The effect will be very similar to a volcanic eruption such as that of Mount Krakatoa in 1883 which lowered global temperatures by about 1 degree centigrade.
To read the Guardian’s full discussion on ‘geo-engineering’ click here. So far no governments are known to have seriously considered any of the options above.
www.independent.co.uk 22nd July 2010
Britain’s Dainty Damselfly population was destroyed in 1953 by the great floods of that year and the species has not been seen on the island since. However two members of the British Dragonfly Society (BDS) have photographed four adult Dainty Damselflies in North Kent. Usually the damselfly populates central and southern Europe but a recolonisation of northern Europe seems to be on the cards. They have returned to Belgium after a long absence and the Netherlands also. Last year they were reported to have reached Jersey. The reemergence of the species follows on from the migrations of other its relatives: the Small Red-Eyed (appeared in Britain in 1999) and Emerald Damselfly (2007). The Lesser Emperor Dragonfly has also set up shop here and so have numerous other insects and birds from the continent. Perhaps the most dramatic arrival is Europe’s biggest bee, which is harmless despite its size, the Violet Carpenter Bee. The BDS has claimed the mass migration is caused by climate change causing the UK’s climate to slowly warm up.
www.guardian.co.uk 15th September 2010
The only Republican candidate to openly believe in the science of climate change and support climate change legislation has lost his chance for a seat in the Senate. Mike Castle had been congressman for Delaware for two decades and he was thought to have been unbeatable. However, Christine O’Donnell, an ultra-conservative who denounced climate change legislation as a ‘job killer’, beat Mr. Castle due to his support for climate change policies last year. Ms. O’Donnell’s victory is a success for the Tea Party Express, a conservative wing of the Republican party. She was also supported by Sarah Palin, who has recently been linked with a run for the presidency. Ms. O’Donnell is pro-gun, anti-abortion and believes ‘masturbation is a sin’. The loss of Mr. Castle may be a warning to other republicans as well as democrats in states with large fossil fuel economies.
www.guardian.co.uk 15th September 2010
A new study published in the journal ‘Population and Environment’ by Aaron McCright, an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Sociology, has found that “women tend to believe the scientific consensus on global warming more than men”. However, the paper also discusses how women lack faith in their scientific comprehension of the subject. 35% of surveyed women professed to being concerned about climate change compared to 29% of men. The divide is slightly larger when asked if they thought that global warming posed a threat to their way of life (37% of women to 28% of men). The results could be explained by ‘gender socialisation’ whereby “boys learn that masculinity emphasises detachment, control and mastery, whereas girls develop traits of attachment, empathy and care”.
www.independent.co.uk 5th September 2010
Australia’s Green Party have had a successful time in the recent national elections doubling their portion of the vote to a record high of 11.5%. The left-of-centre environmental party took a seat in every state of the country as well as a critical one in the Lower House. With a hung parliament between the ruling Labor Party and the conservative Liberal/National Party the Green’s vote will be critical to pass, or turn down, proposed laws. The Labor Party, headed Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard, have signed a deal with the Greens putting action against climate change at the forefront of its agenda. In 2007 the Labor Party took power with a pro-environment platform but the previous Prime Minsiter, Kevin Rudd, failed twice to pass his Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) through parliament. He was ousted from his position in June this year and replaced by Ms. Gillard. Mr. Rudd did sign Australia up to the Kyoto Pact, which comes to an end in 2012 with no successor yet put in place.
Australia is the world’s worst per capita polluter in the world. It is unsure whether the Green Party’s success will be able to push through any radical environmental reforms as many other independents are from more rural backgrounds and rely on farming and mining. Labor needs the support of all the independents to form a majority government.
The French yacht Tara has just embarked on the second leg of a world tour to investigate the effect climate change has on plankton is the world’s oceans. More than a 100 scientists are involved in the project which aims to create a bio-bank from which future climate studies can be compared. The journey will cover some 150,000km and has taken Tara to Cape Town from France, then to Argentina and Antarctica, and all the way New Zealand by August 2011. The ship’s crew send frozen samples of plankton, viruses, bacteria, and fish larvae to laboratories every month. The director of Tara Expeditions is chief executive officer of fashion brand Agnes B Etienne Bourgois. It was founded by Agnes B herself. The vessel was built in 1989 and spent 507 days in the Arctic before returning to France in 2008. It was previously owned by yacht explorer Sir Peter Blake from New Zealand but he was murdered during an expedition on the Amazon River in 2001.
Plankton ecosystems are relatively unheard of in climate change arguments but they absorb around half of the world’s carbon emissions and produce as much oxygen as the world’s forests. It has previously been estimated that global warming has caused a 40% reduction in levels of phytoplankton in the oceans. Click here to read the article in the Independent.
Sources: www.independent.co.uk 10th September 2010
The Prince of Wales has remarked on a pre-recorded morning television program that he is ‘baffled’ by the attitude of climate change sceptics. The interview took place on Thursday (9th September) between Prince Charles and the ITV Daybreak’s Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley at HRH’s residence Clarence House. He went on to say: “what I’ve been trying to highlight is the fact that so much can be done by communities – it’s a grassroots thing. Frequently people have taken it onto themselves to try and do all these things because they get frustrated I think, and they also realise there is a huge challenge that we’re facing. And you know (we’re) putting nature’s systems under huge strain and we can’t go on like that if we want to hand over something reasonably worthwhile to our children and grandchildren.” He also highlighted that the UK wastes £10 billion worth of food every year and described it as “unbelievable”.
Prince Charles has just returned from a tour of eco-projects in the UK the purpose of which was to promote the START initiative that seeks to encourage people to live more sustainable lifestyles. The whistle-stop tour saw the Prince ‘visit an inner city farm in Newcastle, take tea with a woman at her Nottingham home fitted with solar panels and deliver a speech on sustainable energy at a Manchester monastery’.